It’s been over two weeks since we last saw David. He was leaving for school and my wife and I were preparing to fly to Maryland for the weekend. He hugged and kissed my wife goodbye and gave me wave; too big to hug and kiss his ol’ dad. My wife playfully demanded that he should give his father a hug, but he protested and I said it wasn’t necessary. I smiled and waved to him as he left.
“Have a good day. Watch for cars. And I love you.” My wife’s last words to our ten year old son.
During this time, I’ve been an emotional wreck. Laughing and crying; sometimes at the same time. Some things I’ve felt, I had expected. And some I had not. I expected the grief to come, followed by the sorrow and longing for our son. I didn’t expect to feel the warm embrace of people near and far; people we know and perfect strangers.
Another surprising feeling was that of denial. That’s one of the stages of grief and loss, so I’ve been reading. Before, I really didn’t understand the denial stage. I mean, we were home when the people from the medical examiner’s office took David away. I spoke with the LifeGift people about organ donation and we saw David at the funeral home. How could we be in denial?
This denial must be on a subconscious level, because we still speak about David in the present tense. David is…not was; not yet, at least. Also, for us, it doesn’t feel like he’s gone. He’s just not here. We still expect him to ride up on his bicycle and bound through the house. As we slowly return to our normal routine, I’m sure more of this denial will surprise us: the empty seat at the dinner table, the bicycle in the garage and our weekly ritual of Pancake Sundays with old episodes of Doctor Who.